Sana`a: A drone attack in Yemen on Sunday that killed a terrorist named Fahd Mohammad Ahmed Al-Quso was reportedly plotting with al Qaeda to blow up an international airliner, the Yemeni Government said.
Al-Quso had planned to blow up the US-bound airliner using an underwear bomb, which was foiled by the CIA.
Al-Quso, 37, was known for leading terrorist operations in the USS Cole bombing in the United States, which had killed 17 American sailors in 2000.
Al-Quso had replaced Anwar al Awlaki, closely tied to AQAP and was the inspiration for multiple attacks on American targets, as head of external operations for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
US government officials told ABC News that Al-Quso and Ibrahim Hassan Asiri, AQAP bomb maker, had even planned for similar terrorist attacks using IED that could be hidden in a person to blow down an international airline.
In April, their plot, based in Yemen, was detected by intelligence sources. American and other intelligence agencies were closely monitoring the plot.
Early last month, White House counterterrorism Czar John Brennan had informed President Barack Obama about the plot.
"We were aware of the plot throughout its development," a senior administration source told ABC News. "So we never thought Americans were at risk. They never got to the point where they were close to putting it on a plane," he added.
US intelligence sources have assessed that terror threats from AQAP is growing "due to the territorial gains the group made during the political standoff in Yemen that lasted from early 2011 until this past February, a government official says.